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A Year Without Ice Cubes One year through Africa and Asia

Bahir Dar

ETHIOPIA | Thursday, 12 March 2009 | Views [1110] | Comments [9]

We made it to Bahir Dar, caught the 3 am minibus from Addis Ababa and sat/slept in it for about 10 hours or so (stopping twice to stretch and once to eat/use the facilities). The scenery through Ethiopia is AAAAmazing, completely different from the rest of Africa we’ve seen, dry and rocky and gorgeous (not that the rest of Africa isn’t gorgeous…). And on the bus, we made a friend…Adsede, a sweet, sweet girl who recently received a diploma in information technology and was returning to her home in Bahir Dar after spending a month in Addis. I fell in love with her the minute I sat down next to her at 3 am and she gave me a huge smile and asked, as she squished in tighter against the window to make more room for me, “Do you feeling comfort?” (Think the Ethiopian equivalent of Mingzhu Wang, for those of you who know Mingzhu Wang…Hi Mingzhu Wang, I miss you! Definitely! I am speechless without you!!!) We planned on spending one night in Bahir Dar, doing a boat tour of the monasteries dotted throughout Lake Tana the next morning, and then catching a minibus up to Gondar in the evening. Adsede also invited us to a traditional coffee ceremony, which we were hoping to squeeze in between the boat tour and our minibus ride. But, as tends to happen, our plans changed because not only was Michelle still recovering from battling over 35 bees (no longer Winky, she has graduated up to Puff-Face), she also had an adverse reaction to some Ethiopian food (sorry to be the bearer of more bad news, Weiner family, but you’ll be happy to know we went to the hospital before we left Addis and the doctor told her she will be fine and to just keep taking the antihistamine and pain killers. And she is awaiting your check-up call. And mom, you’re supposed to call me! Come on parents!!!! Hahaha just kidding. But seriously, come on! Hahaha just kidding again…I think…) (Wow, lots of fun personal parenthetical messages today) (On that note, Anthony we totally stayed at Ghion Hotel and met Bizrath or however you spell it and yea what’s up with the hat?) SO, after the boat tour (nice but long, neat monasteries) Michelle didn’t feel up to a coffee ceremony or a bus ride to another town, so we booked another night at the Ghion Hotel and Michelle went to rest in the room while I went with Adsede for the traditional coffee ceremony. I didn’t really know what to expect, I thought maybe we’d go to a restaurant for the ceremony, but Adsede informed me that we were in fact going to her home and had I eaten lunch? No? Good, Auntie, she prepare Shiro Wat she will make it not spicy for you, us we are used to the spicy. We hopped on a couple tuk-tuks, stopped to pick up some papyrus grass for the ceremony, and eventually made it to Adsede’s humble and comfortable home. I met Adsede’s aunt, female cousin, female cousin’s female friend, and younger sister. A household full of women. Took some nice photos, had some nice laughs, drank some nice coffee, and had a nice moment where I realized that this is exactly where I want to be, stuck inside a National Geographic photograph laughing with a bunch of Ethiopian women. But you know, I think the thing about all these fantastic experiences I’m having is that they are new and unique but also ephemeral, short-lived; I’m getting a glimpse into another culture, treated like a special guest and being a recipient of extreme kindness and generosity, but at the end of the day I still reminisce about college dorm life with my friend I’ve known since I was 6 years old, knowing that tomorrow I’ll be in a new town with new people where I will have more new experiences. But who knows, maybe I’m wrong and if I stay in one place for more than a couple days or even a couple months I’ll get stuck in the photograph indefinitely and be where I want to be for an extended amount of time (Peace Corps, Study Abroad, Fulbright, Ex-pat, etc. people, any insight on this?) Am I babbling? Do I even have any Ex-pat people? After coffee, food, and a few Ethiopian music videos on their little TV, Adsede took a quick shower and then came out with her “beauty bag”, or makeup bag. “Sylvia, you want the powder?” Well, seeing how Michelle and I aren’t the girliest of girls, particularly when we’re traveling through Africa, I thought it would be a fun change for me and I told Adsede to give me the works. Adsede told me she used to work in a beauty salon doing hair and makeup for weddings and other events, and her aunt actually owned a salon until about 5 years ago. Then the transformation started…I took off my doo-rag, got my eyebrows tweezed, got powdered, got eye and lip linered, eye shadowed and lipsticked, and even got my short, rarely-looks-good-so-I-always-cover-it (not because I’m Orthodox Jewish) hair did. We also made Adsede’s aunt put on makeup, and then had a photo shoot. A neighbor came to visit, invited us into her home, we had another photo shoot with her and her daughter, and then headed back into town to the Ghion Hotel. Hmm, this seems to be a long, perhaps overly-descriptive blog entry…well, what can I say, I’m up late typing on my laptop feeling the effects of the three cups of coffee I drank today and reminiscing with myself about the day’s events (With myself? By myself?). We leave for Gondar at 8 am in the morning, hopefully I’ll upload this online before we leave so it’s ‘blog in real time’, thanks to the 8 hour time difference. Mom, call me! You never call! (Hahahahahahaha, no wait that’s me). (Oh my god this is totally a caffeine-induced blog entry you can tell by the number of Ha’s.)

Comments

1

HAHAHA, YES! I am Mingzhu Wang! Hello every one here!

  mingzhu Mar 13, 2009 4:05 AM

2

Happy Birthday.
I'm glad you weren't allergic to bee stings like your grandfather and aunt! Lynn is helping me look at your blog and writing this email. Finally the family MAY get me computer literate.

Lots of love,
Gramma

  Gramma Mar 14, 2009 1:25 AM

3

Happy Birthday.
I'm glad you weren't allergic to bee stings like your grandfather and aunt! Lynn is helping me look at your blog and writing this email. Finally the family MAY get me computer literate.

Lots of love,
Gramma

  Gramma Mar 14, 2009 1:25 AM

4

More amazing things are happening! Peg Rider, is that you? Welcome aboard, and it's free to communicate- which, Sylvia, is why I haven't called you. I haven't figured out how to avoid paying $60-$100 to talk to you. I have your phone number from Louise. I'll surprise you someday soon.
Love you!!!!!!!!!

  sylvia mom Mar 14, 2009 3:16 AM

5

More amazing things are happening! Peg Rider, is that you? Welcome aboard, and it's free to communicate- which, Sylvia, is why I haven't called you. I haven't figured out how to avoid paying $60-$100 to talk to you. I have your phone number from Louise. I'll surprise you someday soon.
Love you!!!!!!!!!

  sylvia mom Mar 14, 2009 3:26 AM

6

Whoa! If you can get Peg Rider on a computer you can accomplish anything! Keep a goin! Hope you both feel better~!

  Bunny Mar 15, 2009 4:30 PM

7

I liked your personal reflections. How neat the way you make friends!
Thanks for sharing!

  gail Mar 19, 2009 9:27 AM

8

Sylvia,
I've been trying to reach you at the phone number you gave Louise to give to me, which turns out to be Michelle's number. I don't know how to get in touch with you. Please email or give a quick call. No emergency, just want to hear from you.
Love,
Mom

  sylvia mom Mar 20, 2009 8:30 AM

9

Come on parents!!!! Hahaha just kidding. But seriously, come on! Hahaha just kidding again…


What can I say? Speechless....

  Mingzhu Mar 20, 2009 7:57 PM

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